Coalition of Labor Union Women
  • June 22, 2024
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  • Hear Us Roar: Ready for 2024! 22nd Biennial CLUW Convention Wrap Up
    Updated On: Jan 27, 2024

    In early November 2023, the Coalition of Labor Union Women kicked off its 22nd Biennial Convention in Minneapolis. Hundreds of union activists filled the halls to chart the vision for the coalition over the next two years. Under the theme of “Hear Us Roar: Ready for 2024” the convention kicked off with our customary Parade of Banners and throughout the event participants heard from inspiring speakers, participated in rigorous debate and closed the convention with a lively celebration at the “Bow Ties & Pearls” closing gala.

    SPEAKERS & PRESENTATIONS

    Over the course of the 3-day convention, labor leaders, union activists, and worker-friendly legislators graced the main stage to share words of encouragement and empowerment with the nearly 300 delegates attending the convening.

    On day one, attendees received video greetings from AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, the first woman to lead the house of labor. Delegates also heard from labor champion Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, representing Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, who reflected on the ways that women and marginalized groups need leaders who will speak with them and for them in the halls of power. Rep. Omar also called on attendees to consider how they will show up for the common good.

    CLUW leaders with Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo credit: Danae Pouliot)

    Communications Workers of America President Claude Cummings Jr. also gave a rousing speech about solidarity and how he uses his role to support women in leadership and the issues facing working women and femmes.

    Delegates were also pleased to receive remarks from Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bernie Burnham who welcomed attendees to the great state of Minnesota. Participants also heard moving speeches from fellow CLUW members including Teresa Marie Oller of APWU, Celina Barron of IBEW, Ashley Lewis of UAW, and of course our very own president, Elise Bryant.

    The conference also featured topical panel discussions and presentations on issues important to CLUW members. These included a presentation from Kate Miceli and Gina Rodriguez about the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, a panel discussion regarding the state of reproductive rights with panelists Janet Hill, Kate Shaunessey and Celina Barron, moderated by Ashley Lewis, and a presentation on women’s mental health from Janet Gerhard.

    Other speakers and video remarks were shared throughout the convention from UNI World Women’s Committee President Carol Scheffer, Planned Parenthood Union Organizer and SEIU Healthcare of Minnesota and Iowa member Grace Larson, Senator Tammy Duckworth, UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock, and IAM Secretary Treasurer Dora Cervantes.

    CLUW leaders with Planned Parenthood Union Organizer Grace Larson (center). (Photo credit: Danae Pouliot)

    AWARDS

    During the convention, CLUW chapters and activists were recognized for their organizing efforts and leadership. The Metropolitan DC Area Chapter of CLUW was awarded the Joyce Miller Organizing Award for its efforts in bringing more activists into the organization. The organizing award is named after Joyce D. Miller, a founding member of CLUW who also served as the organization’s president from 1977 to 1993. Miller was a pioneer when it came to advocating for working women inside of organized labor.

    Metro DC CLUW receives the 2023 Joyce D. Miller Organizing Award. (Photo credit: Danae Pouliot)

    The Clara Day Award was also given to three CLUW State Presidents who were nominated by their peers. Denise Caldwell, Sherry C. McKnight and Temika Cook were recipients of the award at the convention. Each of the awardees demonstrates the key principles of CLUW, including increasing participation of women in their unions, engagement in the legislative and political process and promoting unionism. This award bears the name of CLUW Executive Vice President Clara Day who served from 1989-2001. Day was a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and credited CLUW with giving her a strong sense of sisterhood in the labor movement, particularly in a union dominated by men. Day became the first woman and African-American elected to her union’s executive board in 1976.

    CLUW State Presidents Denise Caldwell and Temika Cook (center) receive the Clara Day Award. (Photo credit: Danae Pouliot)

    CONVENTION BUSINESS

    Conducting the constitutional business of the organization was a key component of this year's convention. Over the course of the convening delegates reviewed constitutional amendments and resolutions that would guide the organization forward

    Additionally, delegates considered 20 resolutions, many of which were passed by the body. Key issue areas considered by the delegates included health care and reproductive justice, child care, just transition to a climate safe economy, calls for diplomacy not militarism, and building up CLUW for the future.

    CLUW delegate Ashley W. speaks on the floor of the convention. (Photo credit: Danae Pouliot)

    The success of the 22nd Biennial Convention was made possible by the leaders, staff and activists that are the heart and soul of the organization. From planning to committee engagement to live performances by The Motown Diva Lynn Marie Smith (CLUW member) and the “CLUWettes” and everything in between, the sisters and siblings of CLUW continue to build a strong coalition-by and for the women, femmes and gender expansive folks of the labor movement.

    Click here to view more photos from the convention.

    Please enjoy this convention overview video filmed, produced and edited by CLUW and SAG-AFTRA member Tanya Hutchins.

    22nd Biennial Convention: Minneapolis


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